Govt Puts Funds Towards Disability Wage Arrangements
Monday, 25th August 2014 at 10:29 am
The Federal Government has announced $173 million to help the supported employment sector work towards new wage arrangements for disability employees currently working in Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
This follows the suspension of the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) in December 2012.
The Government says funding will be used in part to develop and implement a new productivity-based wage tool (including new assessments) for use across the supported employment sector.
However the announcement comes as disability peak body People with Disability Australia, in partnership with national peak disability and advocacy organisations, have called on Parliament to reject the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) Payment Scheme Bill 2014.
The Federal and High Courts of Australia have determined that the BSWAT discriminates against people with intellectual disability. The groups say the Bill will not provide compensation or an effective remedy for people affected by the unlawful discrimination of the BSWAT.
However, the Assistant Minister for Social Services, Mitch Fifield said the funding would assist ADEs with the additional wage costs associated with the suspension of BSWAT.
“The development of the productivity based assessment tool will lead to the phasing out of BSWAT," he said.
“The Government is committed to assisting the supported employment sector make the transition in a careful and methodical way.
“Over the next few years, these businesses will need to evolve and become more robust. The Government is committed to supporting ADEs as they make these changes and face possible additional costs from applying a new wage tool.”
The Minister said the work on developing the new tool will commence shortly, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, including employers and unions.
This funding follows the Government’s introduction of legislation into Parliament establishing the BSWAT Payment Scheme.
“The payment scheme is being established to provide payments to employees in ADEs with intellectual disability who have had their wages assessed using the BSWAT,” he said.
Further details regarding the scheme will be available at www.dss.gov.au/bswat/PaymentScheme.